By DAVE PETRONE
Photos Courtesy of ABC
With over 30 new shows premiering on American television this fall, picking what to watch can feel daunting. One network – ABC – stands out not for its volume of new shows, which it leads, but for having the boldest and most promising of the lot.
ABC is nailing comedy this season. But one drama in particular, How To Get Away With Murder, is already generating considerable buzz as the new must-see favorite. From heavyweight executive producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal) Murder is about the brilliant and beautiful law professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), and her unconventional and cutthroat teaching methods. She explains on the first day of her course, Criminal Law 100, that she doesn’t teach murder law, she teaches how to get away with it. If there’s one new show this season to watch, it’s this one. Murder premieres Thursday, September 25 at 10pm.
With Murder as the frontrunner for this season’s best new drama, best new comedy easily goes to black-ish. Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) wakes up one day to realize that because of their suburban, wealthy lifestyle, his family has lost touch with its urban, black roots. As an example, his son Andre Jr. (Marcus Scribner) goes by the name Andy, plays field hockey and wants to have a bar mitzvah despite not being Jewish. Cue Andre Sr. throwing his son a “bro mitzvah,” complete with a hip-hop DJ, red tracksuits for all and a whole lot of bling. black-ish is a funny, post-racial exploration of identity that celebrates today’s uniquely American families. black-ish premieres Wednesday, September 24 at 9:30pm.
There are three other new shows – all comedies – which are expected to lead ABC to a ruling position this fall: Cristela, Manhattan Love Story and Selfie.
Cristela is a feel-good comedy about a strong, sassy Latina who lives at home while finishing law school. She lands an unpaid internship at a firm to the dismay of her family who expect her to get a paid job, move out on her own and find a man. Audiences will root for her big dreams, unwavering determination and ability to laugh at her own life. Cristela stars and is produced by Cristela Alonzo, an already much-loved comedian with a large fan base, and premieres Friday, October 10 at 8:30pm.
Manhattan Love Story is a situational, battle-of-the-sexes comedy about opposites who get set up on a blind date, and their subsequent romance. Utilizing character voice overs, the show stars the dashing Jake McDorman (Live Free or Die Hard) and the delicate Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid, Love.) as they navigate a new relationship and New York. Manhattan Love Story premieres Tuesday, September 30 at 8:30pm.
And last but certainly not least, Selfie is a millennial comedy based on the idea that – in the words of the central character – being friended isn’t the same as having friends. In the same vein as My Fair Lady, Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillian, Doctor Who) enlists the help of marketing genius Henry Higenbottam (John Cho, Star Trek) to re-brand her image to gain a few real friends. Selfie premieres on Tuesday, September 30 at 8pm.
In the 2013-2014 television season, ABC held an impressive 20 percent of the top 50 most-watched programs. This included Dancing with the Stars, Modern Family, Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. Last season, Stars was America’s number one reality show averaging a whopping 15.5 million viewers weekly. The highly acclaimed Modern Family has won a mammoth 27 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series every year of its five-year run. And Anatomy reliably ranks as the number one drama in the coveted 18-49 demographic having amassed a nearly cultish following over its decade-long run.
The list of new shows and returning favorites from ABC goes on and on. So set your DVR, gather your friends and get ready for some highly entertaining television.
For the complete list of ABC’s fall lineup, visit ABC.com.
Photo 1: Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson star in black-ish on ABC (premieres September 24), Photo 2: Viola Davis stars in How to Get Away With Murder (premieres September 25), Photo 3: Kerry Washington returns in Scandal on September 25, Photo 4: Ioan Gruffudd and Judd Hirsch star in Forever (premieres September 23)